Prothero began his talk with the classic, self-serving line of the secularist, “One of the first things I want to make clear is that I am a scientist.”
In other words, you have to believe me because I am no ordinary mortal. I know.
“We deal only with natural forces and things we can observe and test in nature.”
In other words, not like you creationists who believe in things without evidence.
“You can see the layers of the earth piled up one on top of the other in a place like this … Immense amounts of time are required to deposit that, cement it into hard sandstone and shale, tilt it, erode it. Minimum estimate is hundreds of millions of years.”
In other words, Prothero doesn’t deal only with things he can observe.
If I was there I would have said to Prothero, “Hold on. You say you deal only with what you can observe and test but here you are talking about things that you can’t see. You did not observe the sediments being deposited, cemented, tilted or eroded. Your figure of hundreds of millions of years comes out of your imagination.”
Then we could discuss the sorts of processes that could have carved the canyon, processes that no-one has observed and that everyone has to imagine. The time it took depends on the magnitude of the processes involved. Prothero gets the long ages because he decided long ago to exclude the possibility of Noah’s Flood from his thinking.
Maxwell played a trick on the creationists because he confronted them with experts in the field yet the team was of ordinary folk without the specialist knowledge in the areas he took them to. Maxwell seemed satisfied that that they struggled to give answers on topics outside their expertise and which they had not had the opportunity to research.
It would be interesting to take Maxwell to visit some creationist experts in their fields: geology, genetics, tectonics, astronomy and human evolution. It would be interesting to see how well he fares when confronted with evidence he is not familiar with.
As far as the Canyon is concerned, Maxwell should have included a creationist expert in the conversation, someone like Dr Steve Austin or Dr Andrew Snelling. These are two PhD geologists who have done original research in the Canyon and who conduct geological field trips along the Colorado River. They could have illuminated Prothero of some of the amazing evidence for large-scale watery catastrophe in strata in the Canyon, evidence that points to it being deposited quickly and carved rapidly, as you would expect from Noah’s Flood.